Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov, nicknamed “Misha”, is a Russian dancer, choreographer, and actor, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers in history. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he defected to Canada in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance. After freelancing with many companies, he joined the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer to learn George Balanchine’s style of movement. He then danced with the American Ballet Theatre, where he later became artistic director.
No matter what I try to do or explore, my Kirov training, my expertise, and my background call me to return to dancing after all, because that’s my real vocation, and I have to serve it.